Print 9 comment(s) - last by ZorkZork.. on Feb 19 at 5:50 AM

Google said it is taking the necessary steps to do so

Google is under the microscope once again by European data regulators, who say the search giant needs to correct its privacy policy by this summer.

Last year, Google consolidated 60 privacy policies into one -- allowing the company to combine user data across several services like Gmail, YouTube and Google+. This strategy is especially useful when selling advertisements.

According to data protection regulators in Europe, this puts users at "high risk" as far as privacy goes. Also, users cannot opt out. Hence, Europe's 27 data regulators gave Google four months to change this policy back in October -- but according to these groups, Google has not yet addressed these concerns.

French privacy group CNIL was particularly upset with Google's actions, saying it would take further action if Google does not work on its privacy policy by summer.

"Google did not provide any precise and effective answers," CNIL said. "In this context, the EU data protection authorities are committed to act and continue their investigations. Therefore, they propose to set up a working group, led by the CNIL, in order to coordinate their reaction, which should take place before summer."

However, Google said it did respond on January 8 with a list of the steps it planned to take.
Late last month, Google updated its privacy policy in the U.S. It  wanted to make the privacy policies easier to understand for the end-user and to make it easier for Google to share a user's information between different apps when the users sign into their Google account.

Earlier last month,
Google managed to escape a nearly two-year U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation without paying any fines, but the EU said it didn't plan on going easy on Google the way he FTC did. Joaquin Almunia, Europe's antitrust chief, recently said that Google is providing search results that promote its own services instead of fairly showing those of competitors.

Source: Reuters

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"users cannot opt out. "
By GotThumbs on 2/18/2013 3:32:52 PM , Rating: 4
Yes they can.

Do not use the FREE service that Google provides and use a different browser, email service, search engine.

There is your opt out.

RE: "users cannot opt out. "
By bug77 on 2/18/2013 4:25:46 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if I can sue my bank so that they store all my accounts separately and manage them through independent systems as well. Because that's essentially what the EU says Google should do.

RE: "users cannot opt out. "
By Solandri on 2/18/2013 6:03:24 PM , Rating: 2
Eh? I store all my accounts separately - by putting them in different banks. I use one bank for my deposits and ATM, another for paying out bills, and third (brokerage really) for managing stocks and retirement funds. Loans and mortgage are at yet another bank. I was careful to choose banks which did not charge EFT fees in the directions I planned to transfer money. If there's a problem with a check I deposit, or the bank loses a loan payment and tries to blame me, they don't have the luxury of freezing my other accounts.

I started doing this after experiencing a freeze with a business banking account. When you get hundreds of checks from customers in a month, it's inevitable that some will bounce. The bank would just deduct their amount from the deposit and charge us a bounced check fee. But one day a particularly big check bounced. It went over some magic number the bank never told us about, and they froze the funds in our account. At least that's what they were supposed to do. Instead, they deducted the amount of the bad check first, then froze an amount equivalent to the bad check, depriving us of 2x the amount of the check. Took them two days to clear that up, and our business was crippled during the time (I was frantically calling up vendors with large outstanding checks telling them not to deposit them). When they did fix it, they didn't apologize, didn't reimburse us for paying the bounced check penalties of the few vendors who did try to deposit our checks, didn't offer anything for our time dealing with their screwup.

The bank is not your friend. They know they're in the driver's seat - they are holding your money. They will railroad you if they think something is your fault, even if it is their fault.

Getting back on topic, I was using a similar strategy with Google. I opted for a YouTube account instead of a Google Video account back when YouTube was still a separate company. But then Google bought YouTube, and harmonized their usage policies and aggregated the data. I mean I can understand that from the perspective that the whole thing is now run by one company. And if Google had been the one who originated these services, then I think they're free to harmonize their policies and data all they want. But those of us who signed up with non-Google services specifically to avoid this should be grandfathered out of it. I don't want my YouTube account linked to my gmail account.

RE: "users cannot opt out. "
By TSS on 2/18/2013 5:39:53 PM , Rating: 2
It's not about that, it's about the people who are already using google services and thus might have stuff that does not allow them to "stop using them".

Been using Gmail for 4 years, have it entered everywhere and then google makes a policy change you don't agree with. Do you opt out to never look at that email box again? Of course not, you can't remember everywhere you inputted that email account.

Not only that, but there's social pressure. Everybody and their mother uses youtube on a regular basis now. Not using it almost makes you a social pariah, especially if you explain why to people who do not have similar concirns.

In short, the old "bait and switch". Get people in with promises of privacy, and once they're at the point they can't get out easily, take away the privacy. The EU should look into this, rightfully so.

Free does not mean not-anti competative or not-harmfull.

RE: "users cannot opt out. "
By Trisped on 2/18/2013 10:35:58 PM , Rating: 2
Download all your data from gmail (they make it WAY easier then Microsoft).
Delete everything from gmail.
Change your password.

If you want you may also contact Google and ask them to delete your account.

Personally, I have read the agreements and find nothing wrong with them. So they are keeping my information together rather then separate; they are still keeping my data.

RE: "users cannot opt out. "
By NellyFromMA on 2/18/2013 10:07:13 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously? That didn't work with Microsoft's monopoly, why would it work with Google's?

What I want to know is when do these changes get brought to the states, or are American citizen's entitled to a lesser level of privacy than European's?

RE: "users cannot opt out. "
By ZorkZork on 2/19/2013 5:50:23 AM , Rating: 2
Google has to abide by European law if they want to operate in Europe. If they don't like it they can leave. Simple. That's how the legal system works.

And just for the record, every civilized state on the planet has regulation that companies must abide by. It is not enough to tell consumers they can opt out. Example: You cannot sell milk with arsenic even if you label it. That is called consumer protection.

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